In this new work Professor George Crowder assesses the various responses to the problem of value pluralism presented by Isaiah Berlin and his successors, and constructs an original response to this problem by reflecting critically on three main approaches found in the political-theory literature: universalism, contextualism, and conceptualism. Crowder argues that the conceptual approach is the most fruitful, yielding norms of value diversity, personal autonomy, and inclusive democracy. Together these approaches indicate a liberal politics of redistribution, multiculturalism, and constitutionalism, and a public policy in which basic values are carefully balanced.
No one has explored the link between value pluralism and liberalism with more persistence and precision than George Crowder. The Problem of Value Pluralism is Crowder’s best treatment of this issue, and it deserves a wide readership. William A. Galston, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution.
George Crowder’s well-established reputation as an expert on Isaiah Berlin’s value pluralism and its implications will be further burnished by this new volume. Once more he displays the clarity, thoroughness, coherence, ingenuity and command of the literature that characterise all his work. After helpfully recapitulating his view of Berlin’s own seminal contribution, he turns to a critical examination of the work of Berlin’s contemporaries and successors, most of it inspired or provoked by Berlin. The result is the most complete treatment of this crucial seam of moral and political thought that has yet been given to us, and required reading for all serious students of pluralism. Henry Hardy, Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, Isaiah Berlin’s principal editor, and author of In Search of Isaiah Berlin: A Literary Adventure.
About the Author
George Crowder is Professor of political theory at Flinders University College of Business, Government and Law. He specialises in the work of political philosopher and historian Isaiah Berlin and in the idea of value pluralism associated with Berlin and others. His other books include Liberalism and Value Pluralism (2002), Isaiah Berlin: Liberty and Pluralism (2004), The One and the Many: Reading Isaiah Berlin (co-edited with Henry Hardy, 2007), and Theories of Multiculturalism (2013).